Tag Archives: Stability in Nuclear Subcontinent

South Asian Stability Workshop

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, February 24-27, 2015

Arun Vishwanathan, Assistant Professor, ISSSP, NIAS

nps-logo_400x400The Workshop was organised by the Center on Contemporary Conflict (CCC) at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California. It brought together American, Indian, and Pakistani academics and former civilian and military officials to examine crisis escalation dynamics between India and Pakistan. The workshop format involved a tabletop exercise with participants from India and Pakistan in a simulated crisis scenario. The goal of the exercise was to cultivate greater understanding and identify emerging dynamics in South Asia.

Commentary: Pakistan’s Nasr/Hatf-IX Missile: Challenges for Indo-Pak Deterrence

Strategic Analysis, Vol. 38, No. 4, July 2014, pp. 444-448.

Arun Vishwanathan, Assistant Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies

strat analysisOn November 5, 2013 Pakistan conducted its fourth test of the Hatf-IX (Nasr) short range battlefield ‘nuclear’ missile. To date there have been four flight tests of the missile system. After the first three tests (April 19, 2011, May 29, 2012 and February 11, 2013) Pakistan’s Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) had put out identical press releases. These statements claimed that the missile had a range of 60km and carried ‘nuclear warheads (sic) of appropriate yield’. The ISPR statement following the fourth flight test of Nasr, a salvo firing of four missiles, was worded differently and did not repeat the claim that Nasr carried a nuclear warhead. Curiously, it referred to the missile’s nuclear capability in a roundabout sort of way. The statement claimed that the missile ‘contributes to the full spectrum deterrence against threats in view of evolving scenarios’.

This then begets three questions. First, what is Pakistan trying to signal by way of the Nasr and what is the significance of the change in wording of the ISPR statement following the fourth Nasr test flight? Secondly, can Pakistan actually fit a nuclear warhead into the Nasr? Thirdly, how credible would Nasr be in Indian eyes and how will it impact the Indo-Pak deterrence relationship.

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Battlefield Weapons and Missile Defense: Worrisome Developments in Nuclear South Asia

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, March/April 2014

HATF-IX/NASR Pakistan’s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: Implications for Indo-Pak Deterrence

Rajaram Nagappa, Arun Vishwanathan and Aditi Malhotra

An ISSSP Report titled ‘HATF-IX / NASR Pakistan’s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: Implications for Indo-Pak Deterrence’ was quoted by Prof. R. Rajaraman in the  Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Journal, March/April 2014 Vol. 70 No. 2, pp. 68-74.  The link of the article is given below.

For the entire paper click here

The study was undertaken by the authors at the ISSSP, NIAS carried out a technical analysis and sizing of the missile to see whether a nuclear warhead can fit into it. The study also highlighted the importance for nuclear stability in the Indian sub-continent and whether NASR is leading Pakistan into a ‘commitment trap.’ The study showed that a weapon system like NASR has more disadvantages than advantages from all considerations ranging from damage potential to impact on deterrence stability.

To read the complete report click here

Nuclear Signals in South Asia

Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, August 9, 2013

Arun Vishwanathan, Assistant Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies

Bulletin of Atomic ScientistsIndia, Pakistan, and China have been dancing a nuclear tango of late, taking steps that have serious implications for the entire region. The countries need to engage if they are to understand the vocabulary and thinking that underpin one another’s nuclear strategies. India will hold elections in 2014. Pakistan has just gone through a democratic transfer of power. China has a new set of leaders in place after its decadal leadership transition. It will be interesting to see whether and how the nuclear signaling game in South Asia changes, once new leadership is in place in all three countries.

For the complete article click here

Pakistan’s HATF-IX / NASR : Implications for Indo-Pak Deterrence

HATF-IX / NASR Pakistan’s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: Implications for Indo-Pak Deterrence

Authors: Rajaram Nagappa, Arun Vishwanathan and Aditi Malhotra

To read the complete report in pdf click here

NASR ImageOn April 19, 2011 Pakistan conducted the first test flight of Hatf-IX (NASR) missile. The Pakistani Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) described the missile as a ‘Short Range Surface to Surface Ballistic Missile’. Till date there have been three tests of the missile system on April 19, 2011, May 29, 2012 and February 11, 2013.

Following the Pakistani tests and claims of NASR being a nuclear capable missile, there has been a lot of analysis pointing to the dangers it poses for Indo-Pak deterrence. However, despite the large amount of literature which has come out following the NASR test in April 2011, not much attention has been directed at carrying out a holistic assessment of the tactical nuclear weapons issue. It is this crucial gap that that this report seeks to address.

The NASR warhead section has been estimated to have a cylindrical section which is 361 mm in diameter and 940 mm long with a conical portion which is 660 mm long. Thus, the important question is whether (a) Pakistan has a miniaturized weapon warhead which will fit into this dimension, (b) whether it has been tested and (c) in the absence of tests, how reliable is the weapon system. Most importantly, in the absence of demonstrated reliability, how confident will Pakistan be in fielding it?

Pakistan’s gambit of using NASR to signal a lowering of its nuclear threshold to counter any conventional military operation by India is likely to pose challenges for robustness of nuclear deterrence between Pakistan and India. An important question to ponder over and one that holds some importance for nuclear stability in the Indian sub-continent is whether NASR is leading Pakistan into a ‘commitment trap.’ It would be wise to guard against a situation where Pakistan would be forced to follow through just because of its past assertions.

The study shows that a weapon system like NASR has more disadvantages than advantages from all considerations ranging from damage potential to impact on deterrence stability.

Aftermath of a Nuclear Attack

India Quarterly: A Journal of International Affairs, Sage Publications, Vol. 69, 2, June 2013, pp. 200-202.

Arun Vishwanathan, Assistant Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore

India QuarterlySpeaking of the aftermath of a nuclear exchange, Soviet leader Nikita Krushchev is believed to have said, ‘The living will envy the dead.’ This statement captures the debilitating impact of the use of nuclear weapons. Brigadier Anil Chauhan in his book Aftermath of a Nuclear Attack has succeeded in contributing to a better understanding of this complex issue. The author draws upon much of the existing technical and non-technical literature to provide the reader with a holistic picture of immediate and long-term effects of nuclear explosions and the mechanisms in India to respond to such an exigency.

 

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